Friday, April 25, 2014

The Voice vs. American Idol & Shakira Lip Syncs Empire?

So I FINALLY saw my first episodes of The Voice this week. I caught up on Monday's 12 performances on Tuesday via Comcast OnDemand (I definitely will DVR next time because OnDemand makes you watch alllll the commercials ugh) and then I watched Tuesday's Live show as it happened. After just those two episodes I'm starting to get a better idea of why The Voice pales in comparison to the early years of American Idol. Unfortunately, I can't compare it to Idols current shows because some of what made Idol so popular is now gone. In fact it now appears that The Voice is winning the TV ratings battle each week despite having some weaker elements - American Idol was viewed by 8+ million people and The Voice viewed by 11+ million people this past week.

Okay now on with the show comparison:

Hosts - Carson Daly is a good enough host for the Voice but lets face it, he's no Ryan Seacrest. Ryan has two things that Carson lacks, a unique sounding voice (how ironic) and a much stronger TV personality. He is just much more interesting to watch and listen to. The banter between Ryan and the Idol judges was almost always fun and helped make us tune in week after week.

Judges - Musically speaking Shakira, Usher, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine have it all over many of the Idol judges of the past. But folks this is a live TV show where these judges are mostly talking and not singing. On their worst TV day, Idol judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson were infinitely more interesting to watch then the current crop of judges on the Voice. Its not that they "look" better, but they are much more interesting TV personalities (and yep this is a TV show :)). Part of the reason we watch these shows at all is the judges - you watch to see and hear what they will do and say next.

Theme Music - No comparison - Idol's instrumental theme music was always energizing even after many seasons - I listen to the The Voice for two episodes and their "This is the Voice" theme music is just bland bland bland - I can't believe they haven't come up with something better - there's just no excuse for a musical show to have a theme like that.

Contestants - This is where The Voice generally comes out on top - with just a few exceptions. I am finding the Voice contestants having better voice and performance chops at this stage in the show than the Idol contestants I used to watch (haven't seen Idol for a few years). I'll detail some more of this in a future blog but there were several standout Voices including Tess Boyer, Audra McLaughlin and Josh Kaufman

Shakira Lipsyncs through Empire

Yes the word on the street is Shakira lip synced through her performance of "Empire" this week on the show. I'm here to tell you that yep it's absolutely true - I told my wife as we watched the show - "she's not even singing and this is a singing competition where she's supposed to be "coaching" the contestants" - what the heck is that all about!! Sure the performance was visually stunning with the fire on the stage, her outfit and well Shakira herself of course. But if you can't pull it off singing it live on a singing show then "just don't do it". The only caveat here is maybe The Voice and Shakira did this on purpose just to get the people talking more about the Voice on social media (this would not surprise me at all). Check it out here for yourself and see what you think - Mayyyybe she's singing the first couple lines live but after that no wayyyy!

Phillip Phillips catching on with "Raging Fire"

Since we're talking about fire and music, American Idol 2012 winner Phillip Phillips is catching on at radio again with his new song "Raging Fire". When I first heard the song I didn't really think much of it. It definitely pales in comparison to "Home" (Top 10 on the Billboard chart and 4 million sold) and "Gone Gone Gone" (Top 25 Billboard and 1 million sold). But something about "Raging Fire" makes it start to stick in your head and I think it's the "come out come out come out" part that started playing in my head when I started waking up each morning. This still won't propel "Raging Fire" to "Home" or "Gone" heights but it will ensure that Phillip Phillips, with perhaps his "worst" single, is still miles above the success rate of any winning contestant on The Voice so far. See my previous blog post below for more on this "Will the VOICE find its VOICE with its Season 6 Winner?"

That's all for today kiddies - Have a gggreat weekend and I'll be back shortly with another post on new music and musical happenings in the world.

Peace, Love & Laughter

~Vincent James @

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Will the VOICE find its VOICE with its Season 6 Winner?

I have to confess, I have never watched an episode of The Voice which is now in its 6th season after debuting in the spring of 2011. I'm sure there have been numerous great singers performing on the show, most more talented then yours truly. I also must confess that I haven't watched American Idol for the last few seasons either. We all enjoyed Simon Cowells below the belt (but funny as all) comments to the contestants and the bickering between Paula Abdul and Simon. But what really peaked my interest was that Winners for the first several American Idol seasons would start releasing top quality songs on their recordings. Not songs that would be often hard pressed to be released as B-sides on a single back in the day (anybody remember B-sides?). In my opinion, the primary reason the Idol winners (and often 1st, 2nd and 3rd runner up contestants) were successful with radio and record sales was the quality of the songs.

It has been said by many, that "it all starts with a song" and they aren't kidding. If you don't have a great song you're not going to make a star out of anyone. Too many times songs are selected for these artists because of "who wrote the song", "who controls the song", translation: "who stands to gain money IF the song is a hit". Well I'm here to tell you that if you release a crappy song it isn't going to be a hit and there isn't going to be much money to be had :)

If I could give one piece of advice (as if they are listening) to the producers of future Idol and Voice winners it would be simply be: Find the absolute best songs you can that fits your artist and go with that song regardless of who wrote the song or who owns the publishing. Heck take an old song and re-work and have the artist make it their own - its no secret that some of the best songs ever written were not written recently. OR maybe the next time Adam Levine and his Maroon 5 band mates come up with another song like "Pay Phone", "Love Somebody" or "Daylight" he'll decide to let the Voice Winner take this song to the bank AND finally answer the question: "Will The Voice ever produce a star"?

Inside TV has some insightful information on this same topic here: The Voice vs. American Idol

In this article, Forbes magazine tells us last year the top earning American idol winners and Alumni - I think its possible to say that each of these 12 folks on the list have earned more than all of The Voice winners combined: Top 12 American Idol alumni earnings from 2013

Here's the gal that started it all winning "American Idol" season 1 - Kelly Clarkson singing "A Moment Like This" - the first of many great song released by Kelly since her 2002 debut:

Okay that's my soapbox for now - the reason for today's rant is that I realized I couldn't find a new song that I really liked enough to write about. Recently I've written about "Human", "Say Something", "Story of My Life", "Pompeii", "Happy" and "All of Me" - and each of these songs are STILL on the charts because they are THAT good. I'm sure there is something new out there I will really love but I just haven't heard it yet. Stay tuned I'll be looking and listening :) You can always tell me your favorite new song by voting on our "Love Song" poll at Vote for Favorite Love Song or post on our Facebook page at on Facebook

Music, Love & Laughter,

~Vincent James @

Friday, April 11, 2014

Are YOU Looking for new Music & POMPEI is growing!

A recent article in Forbes magazine (yes a music article in Forbes :)) says that music services like Pandora and Spotify are wasting their time trying to recommend new music to us. The thinking is that deep down inside, we as listeners actually want to hear more of what we already like instead of hearing something altogether new. There is definitely something to this, as that's why artists often record "cover" songs from earlier artists - it's that familiar song that gives the new artist a chance to be heard in a crowded market. You can also probably remember times when you first heard a new song and didn't initially like it very much. But then after radio played the song to death it started to grow you on and "suddenly" you were a big fan. I have definitely had this happen to me on more than one occasion.

Here's the article that tells us exactly what this phenomenon is all about:

"Pandora & Spotify wasting their time recommending new Music"

A classic example of this is "Pompeii" by Bastille - When many of first heard "Pompeii" by Bastille we were like ehhhhh its okay. But after hearing it time and time again, that chanting in the beginning and throughout the song really really started to grow on us - And then we started really listening to the lyrics and tuning into the melody and all of a sudden we're hooked. So the lesson is - if you hear a new song and aren't a big fan - give it a chance. If after a half-dozen listens you still don't like it then definitely time to move on :)

Bastille is UK-based band fronted by singer/songwriter Dan Smith and they hit Top 5 in the US with this track and have sold over 2 Million albums in the UK alone.

"But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You've been here before?

That's all for tooooday folks - Have a great weekend and we'll be back to you on Monday with more fun'n'music to go!

Peace, Love & Laughter,

~Vincent James @

Monday, April 7, 2014

Radio is Still KING and "SAY Something"

First full week of April is here and according to sources, radio listening is still king when it comes to where folks listen to music first (49%). At least that's when looking at my age demographic. When they look at the younger music lovers, sites like Pandora, Spotify or their IPhone was the #1 location they listened to music.

Where is the #1 place you listen to music: Radio, CDs, MP3s, Pandora/Spotify/Beats/etc, Vinyl records???

Read the full article here from the Denver Post and then post a comment to let us know: Denver Post - Radio is STILL King!

Now here is a song that will really take your breath away when you stop what you're doing and really listen. Brought to us by the the duo "A Great Big World" and featuring Christina Aguilera, the lyrics plead with us to communicate with the one person we're standing right next to, but feeling so far away from. Today would be a good opportunity to say something or maybe something more to the ones that we love. Go ahead and do it I promise you'll feeeeel good reconnecting all over again.

If you need another dose of "Say Something" please check it out again below:

"Say something I'm giving up on you...
I'll be the one if you want me to.

A Great Big World consists of singer/songwriters Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino who also had their song "This is the New Year" performed on an episode of Glee last year. They've already toured with Ingrid Michaelson, Matthew Morrison, Five for Fighting and certainly more opportunities on the way.

Okay folks that's our Monday update for the week...We'll be back at the end of the week with another post and another great song (until the great songs run out :))

Peace, Love & Laughter

Vincent James @

Friday, April 4, 2014

Wedding Music, Indie Artists & Voting Chart Updates!

This week we launched several updates at First up, we've doubled the number of Wedding music selections in an effort bring our categories up to date from music over the last few years. Whether you're trying to figure out what music to walk down the aisle to or what tunes to dance away the night with..we've got them all right here at If you have suggestions or comments please post them on our Facebook page at on Facebook

Yesterday we also launched two Voting polls that used to be very popular on the site. When we relaunched our new site design last year these polls kinda got lost in the shuffle, but they're now back by popular demand. The new polls are:

So whether you are a HUGE Michael Jackson fan, a Barry Manilow fanatic or Celine Dion is your gal - come to and tell us which song & artists are YOUR all time favorites!

This week also we've added Sara Spicer as our Indie Love Song artist of the month for April. Sara is a young Philadelphia gal whose voice sounds like she's the princess of Nashville. To see what I mean take a listen to Sara's song "Give Me A Sign" on the front page of and learn more about Sara on her Facebook page at . Sara joins Jeff Twardzik as our two inaugural Indie Love Song artists and you can see & hear both on our new Indie Love Song page @ .

Christina Perri is back and making us feel "HUMAN" all over again!

The Philadelphia gal who brought us "Jar of Hearts" and "A Thousand Years" is back again with the a song that will give you chills when the chorus hits you. "Human" is the lead single off Christina's just released CD "Head or Heart" - it starts off slow and you wonder where its going, but the soaring chorus will hit you like a tidal wave and you'll instantly be drawn into Christina's "Human" world. : "But I'm only human, and I bleed when I fall down
I'm only human, I crash and I break down
Your words in my head, knives in my heart
You build me up and then I fall apart
Cause I'm only human..."

That's all for toooooday folks - Happy Friday and please have a safe and fun weekend!

Peace, Love & Laughter

Vincent James @ on Facebook